Reviewing money spent and MLB free-agent tiers a week from Christmas


Less than a week before Christmas, there have been only four multi-year free-agent contracts signed across Major League Baseball this offseason.

The only player to sign more than a two-year deal is James McCann, who got $40.6 million over four years from the Mets, a team in a different position than any other this winter because of its new ownership.

"It's nice to have a new owner with big apples," agent Scott Boras said of Steve Cohen earlier this week.

Free agency opened on November 1 and the first six weeks have been as slow as expected with uncertainty persisting over the number of fans in stands in 2021 and the corresponding finances.

At this time last year, Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Zack Wheeler, Stephen Strasburg, Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas had already signed. Those contracts totaled over $1.1 billion. Times are so much different.

Aside from McCann, the other multi-year deals this offseason have been:

  • 1B Carlos Santana: 2 years, $17M with Royals
  • RP Trevor May: 2 years, $15.5M with Mets
  • SP Chris Flexen: 2 years, $4.75M with Mariners

There have been only 14 other free-agent contracts worth at least $1 million, all one-year deals.

And only six of those have been worth at least last year's league-average salary of $4.4 million.

  • SP Charlie Morton: 1 year, $15M with Braves
  • SP Drew Smyly: 1 year, $11M with Braves
  • SP Mike Minor: 1 year, $9M with Royals (club option)
  • SP Robbie Ray: 1 year, $8M with Blue Jays
  • OF Adam Eaton: 1 year, $7M with White Sox (club option)
  • SP Anthony DeSclafani: 1 year, $6M with Giants

Going by MLBTradeRumors' free-agent rankings, 24 of the top 27 available players remain unsigned, including everyone from the top few tiers: Trevor Bauer, J.T. Realmuto, George Springer, DJ LeMahieu, Marcell Ozuna, Didi Gregorius, closers Liam Hendriks and Brad Hand.

The decisions for several players could last a while longer. It's hard to see Nelson Cruz, Ozuna, Michael Brantley or Justin Turner, for example, signing until MLB determines whether the DH will be universal next season. Executives with several National League clubs have said this month that they're operating as if the NL will not have the DH in 2021.

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